JACKSON, Mich., Nov. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Crews are working through the night to restore electric service across Consumers Energy's service territory after severe thunderstorms and strong winds caused widespread power outages across Lower Michigan.
Statewide, about 172,000 Consumers Energy electric customers are without service as of 9 p.m. Monday from Sunday and Monday's storms which included winds topping 60 mph. Since noon Sunday, nearly 284,000 customers have been impacted by the storm.
"All of our areas are on 24-hour operations, working through the night to assess damage, secure down wires and restore power safely for our customers," said Mary Palkovich, the utility's vice president of energy delivery. "We have utility crews from eight different states supporting our restoration efforts, and we appreciate the patience demonstrated by our valued customers."
When including all personnel, from call center representatives do damage assessors, more than 1,900 Consumers Energy and contract employees are working to restore power to the approximately 172,00 customers remaining without electric service.
As of 9 p.m., areas most affected by electric interruptions were: Alcona (5,843), Allegan (6,084); Arenac (1,133), Barry (7,516), Bay (1,224), Branch (2,427), Calhoun (8,383), Clare (7,826), Clinton (1,978), Eaton (5,931), Emmet (124), Genesee (15,694), Gladwin (1,884), Hillsdale (2,467), Ingham (6,242), Ionia (2,661), Iosco (4,733), Isabella (1,351), Jackson (9,516), Kalamazoo (12,654), Kent (11,862), Lenawee (3,323), Livingston (1,305), Midland (9,313), Monroe (1,277), Montcalm (2,128), Muskegon (2,811), Newaygo (2,523), Oakland, (662), Ogemaw (2,019), Otsego (128), Ottawa (6,642), Roscommon (2,594), Saginaw (2,524), Shiawassee (8,707), St. Joseph (400), VanBuren (4,315) and Washtenaw (2,002). Updated outage information is available at www.ConsumersEnergy.com/outagemap.
Because of the magnitude of the damage, some customers who have been without electric service since Sunday afternoon may not have their power restored until late Friday. Harder hit areas may not have their electric service restored until Saturday. Estimates will be updated as assessment and repairs continue. Additional storm activity may prolong restoration times.
Consumers Energy cautions residents to stay at least 25 feet away from any downed wires and to report them immediately by calling 1-800-477-5050 or their local law enforcement agency. The utility also reminds customers to be alert to utility crews working along roads and urges drivers to take extra precautions in those situations. In particular, drivers should slow down or stop and wait for oncoming traffic to clear so they safely can go past utility workers and equipment on roadsides.
With schools canceled, parents are reminded that they should be aware of possible downed power lines in the area before allowing children to play outdoors. Parents should also tell their children of the dangers of downed power lines and to stay away and report them immediately. In addition, with the Michigan firearm deer season underway, hunters are encouraged to use extreme caution while in wooded areas, to be aware of any possible downed wires.
Customers who lose electricity for an extended period of time may want to investigate if public shelters are available. In most counties, residents can dial 2-1-1 to receive shelter information or to request assistance. Before going to a shelter, residents are asked to contact their local emergency management office to confirm the availability of services.
Customers who call Consumers Energy to report a power outage are encouraged to use the utility's automated reporting option, available at 1-800-477-5050. The service provides restoration information for each substation and circuit, and can be used to report an outage. Outages can also be reported and restoration information obtained via Consumers Energy's online outage map, at www.ConsumersEnergy.com/outagemap. The outage map may be accessed by both computers and mobile devices. Additional storm and power outage information is available at Consumers Energy's newly updated online outage center, www.ConsumersEnergy.com/outage.
If using a generator, contact a licensed electrician to ensure that it is properly connected and, for the safety of our line workers, make certain it is isolated from the utility's electric distribution system. Never use a generator in an enclosed area or near any air intakes, and never fuel a generator when it is running.
In some cases, the mast which holds the electric service wires to a customer's home or business may have been damaged or torn away. Utility crews will reconnect the wires to a home, but only a licensed electrician can repair or replace a mast or a cable.
Consumers Energy will trim or remove trees interfering with electric restoration activities. Once safe to do so, clean-up of debris from tree trimming or removal during a storm emergency is the responsibility of individual property owners.
Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.6 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
SOURCE Consumers Energy